Linkedin. It’s a place where men go to either become legends or die. Death is inevitable for all of us, but Glory isn’t. So LinkedIn prospers.
This post is an attempt to critically study the foremost force in American culture: Linkedin. It’s hard because the influence of Linkedin is so omnipresent that asking an American to describe Linkedin is like asking a fish to describe water. They can’t, because they cannot imagine a world without it — without water, fish die. The average American would also perish without access to Linkedin. A Pew poll found that the average consumer in the United States spends 6 hours on linkedin each day.
This is why it evades study.
At a recent critical theory symposium, Judith Butler was asked her thoughts on Linkedin. She said, simply “I have none”. When asked why, she said “How could you? You just go home, log in, and stop thinking.”
But why does LinkedIn capture the average American’s attention so? I think the answer is simple. Since the days of Rome, people have enjoyed watching combat. The WWE is the longest running television program in American history. Fortnite streams are exploding in popularity amongst the youth (though, they still trail behind Linkedin in terms of market position). We love violence. Linkedin scratches that itch for us.
But violence isn’t the only reason we love LinkedIn. The website’s algorithm draws us in and the same algorithm hides the violence well. Videos of whatever you want flow in front of you — how could you not be transfixed by a personalized waterfall of content?
As a society, we remain entrapped by Linkedin. Donald Trump’s election displays that better than anything, save his defeat — which of course came after Linkedin turned on him. But the attention paid to Donald Trump between 2016 and 2021 wasn’t just attention paid because he was president. It was paid because we’re all addicted to Linkedin. And Donald Trump, until the bitter, capitol-storming end, was Linkedin personified. The callousness, the cluelessness, the constant hiring and firing — it was exactly what the average American sees each day on Linkedin. How could they look away? They’ve been conditioned to watch.
As we enter a post-Trump world, it’s impossible to figure out what America’s pent-up post-lockdown sexual-frustration-based rage will fixate on. But we know that whatever we latch on to, we will do so because of Linkedin. This means it is important to study Linkedin now. Otherwise, we’ll be asking why we didn’t.